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The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer Hardcover – July 1, 2006

424 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This stomach-turning account of the multiple atrocities committed over 43 years by Richard "The Ice Man" Kuklinski—as sadistic a killer as most readers would ever want to encounter in print—seems like more of an as-told-to than an independent journalistic narrative, though Carlo says that he verified Kuklinski's accounts where possible. But rather than critically assess Kuklinski's largely self-serving tales of his roles in such major mob killings as those of Jimmy Hoffa and Gambino boss Paul Castellano, Carlo (The Night Stalker) seems to accept them. Instead of applying objective insight into how such a murderer—who researched methods that would prolong his victims' suffering—came to be, the author presents instead chapter after chapter of Kuklinski summarily killing criminals he was hired to eliminate or randomly gunning down someone on the street to test out a new weapon. By disregarding the questions raised by Mafia experts such as Jerry Capeci about Kuklinski's credibility, Carlo has fumbled an opportunity. Sloppy errors (e.g., Rudy Giuliani served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, not the Eastern District) also detract from the book, which ends with a bizarre invitation to the reader to write to Kuklinski at the Trenton State Prison. (July 11)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Richard Kuklinski, the Ice Man of the title, has told his story before in a variety of forums, including books and videos. Here Carlo tells Kuklinski's story more or less straight from the killer's mouth, with little verification or questioning. Given Kuklinski's grandiose claims, such as participation in the unsolved murder of Jimmy Hoffa, this produces a narrative of unrelieved horror. Kuklinski reveled not only in killing but also in the suffering of his victims, and here he emphasizes how he compartmentalized his life so that his family was shielded from the nastiness of his trade. Other than fulsome detail, not much new about Kuklinski is relayed. Carlo's presentation of Kuklinski uninterrupted does, however, make for nice comparative reading with the killer's wife's book, Married to the Iceman (1994). Good as an omnibus resource on Kuklinski, this is a fine entry in the burgeoning field of works tracing the decline of the traditional organized crime families and their once impenetrable structures. Mike Tribby
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (June 27, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312349289
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312349288
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (424 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #517,383 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

106 of 118 people found the following review helpful By Catiline on July 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I've studied NYC, NJ & Philly OC for over 20 years now. I've read 100's of books on this subject including the one by Anthony Bruno about Kuklinski about 10 years ago. Some by cops, some by feds, some by rats, some by reporters. Nowhere have I ever read, even hinted at, the more outragous claims made by Richard (Iceman) Kuklinski. A couple of the more unbelievable.

Paul (Big Paul) Castellano Shooting. HE WAS NOT THERE. This was planned and executed by "The Fist" a faction of Gambino's dissatisfied for a number of reasons with his leadership. The Fist was made up of John Gotti, Angelo Ruggerio, Frankie DeCicco, Robert (DeBee) Debenardo, and Sammy Bull Gravano. Others in the family (Gene Gotti, Joe Gallo, et al) knew of the plot, but it emulated and was executed primarily by the Bergin crew headed by Gotti. Below are the shooters. NONE was paid cash to participate. The payment was power within the Gambino's hierarchy after Big Paul was dead. There is NO WAY Gravano would have asked or Gotti would have approved of an unknown shooter being brought into the plot as a freelance mercenary.

John Carneglia Primary shooter, target Castellano, in front of Sparks,

Vincent Artuso Primary shooter, target Castellano, in front of Sparks,

Eddie Lino Primary shooter, target Billotti, in front of Sparks,

Salvatore (Fat Sally) Scala, Primary shooter, target Billotti, in front of Sparks,

Dominick (Skinny Dom) Pizzonia, Back-up shooter across E. 46th St. from Sparks,

Anthony (Tony Roach) Rampino, Back-up shooter across E. 46th St. from Sparks,

Angelo (Quack Quack) Ruggerio, Back-up shooter across E. 46th St. from Sparks,

Joe (The German)Watts, Back-up shooter across E. 46th St.
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49 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Edward D. Terhune on July 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Reviewer Jeffrey Johnson below sort of stole most of my thunder, and I basically would concur with the majority of what he said. My reaction to this book was similar to his. Upon first starting it, some warning lights went off for me. I'm always nervous about "real-life" books where the author changes the names of characters. I understand a reporter needing to protect his sources, but Mr. Carlo doesn't indicate what names he's changing or why (Ponti crime family?), which basically renders this "true-crime" book valueless as a research tool. The good news is that Carlo has written an engrossing book (although after slogging through the first dozen or so murders and/or mutilations, the reader does become a bit numb). Bad news? At least 40% on what's in this book is bogus, in my opinion, and I'm probably being conservative. Like Mr. Johnson, I don't believe Kuklinski killed anyone with a horde of ravenous rats and filmed it for the delectation of his underworld employer (in bucolic Bucks County yet!), I don't believe Kuklinski killed Paul Castellano, assisted in the "hit" on Jimmy Hoffa, knew Roy De Meo or worked for him or killed him, I don't believe he ever met Nino Gaggi, had anything to do with the slaying of Carmine Galante, etc. etc. There's enough empirical evidence that Kuklinski was a brutal, psychopathic killer, but if Carlo had been a less credulous chronicler of Kuklinski's torturous life and criminal career, he might have been more competently able to separate incidents that actually happened from incidents that happened only in Kuklinski's fevered imagination. It's a shame...Read more ›
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33 of 41 people found the following review helpful By R.J. Rios on March 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
This has to be hands down one of the worst true crime books ever written! In fact the author should ashamed top have this piece of work published. Beyond the fact that ALL of the mafia related killings "The Iceman", Richard Kuklinski claimed to take part have all been either solved, the true killers and participants named in court, in law enforcement records, by informers or witnesses and none of the killings included Mr. Kuklinski's participation the whole book should be deemed a made up fantasy and the credibility of the author must now come into question for all time.

Every mafia killing mentioned from Paul Castellano to Roy DeMeo and including Carmine Galante have been solved during trial through factual evidence and through the co-operation of informers such as mafia turncoats Sammy "The Bull" Gravano and Big Joe Massino who were both top bosses within the Gambino and Bonanno crime families. Sammy Gravano, the former Gambino crime family underboss assisted with the prosecution of John Gotti having been directly involved in the Paul Castellano murder in December 1985 and gave eye witness testimony of what exactly occurred on the night in question and who participated in the famous Manhattan murder. Kukilinski did not have anything to do with the murder, nothing what so ever, he was not a member of "The F.I.S.T.", the 5 men including John Gotti and Sammy Gravano leading the faction that made the move on boss Paul Castellano. Joe Massino, the former Bonanno crime family boss was indicted in January 2003 and convicted in late 2004 through the testimony of various Bonanno crime family members turned informers who testified that Massino and various associates within the Bonanno crime family co-operated in planning and carrying out the Galante murder in the summer of 1979.
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